- Admonishing Eritrea;
- Brief reply to comments regarding my previous posting (Ethiopia, Tesfay Temnewo, Our youth)
- Clipped into Co-option
I know beforehand that this article is going to stir some grumbling within some corners of our communities for two reasons: confrontational denunciations of patrons of the Ethiopian intrusion, and for diverting focus on Ethiopia rather than admonishing PFDJ. Anyway, before I delve into the analysis of my subject matter please allow me to say that I have no other reason or hidden agenda but to put certain things in perspectives concerning Eritrean affairs – i.e. primarily against the tyrant in Asmara; in addition to that, the tricksters in Addis Ababa.
Admonishing the Government of Eritrea is appropriate. The number of prisoners of conscience and political prisoners continues to grow; political persecution, torture and other ill-treatment are prevalent; there is no end to military conscription; the number of refugees, asylum-seekers and defections is increasing every year; Eritreans are being trafficked more than ever …etc. I guess it suffices to read the following reports that have been internationally published since last March.
- Young and Astray: An Assessment of Factors Driving the Movement of Unaccompanied Children and Adolescents from Eritrea into Ethiopia, Sudan and Beyond. By Womens Refugee Commission
- Refugees and the Rashaida: human smuggling and trafficking from Eritrea to Sudan and Egypt. Reasearch Paper sponsored by UNHCR
- Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea. United Nations A/HRC/23/53 General Assembly
- Eritrea: 20 years of independence, but still no freedom. Amnesty International
- Eritrea: Scenarios for Future Transition. International Crisis Group
Eritrea, rightly so, continues to be admonished for all its human rights abuses in the world arena. However, as pressure mounts on Eritrea, the international community is not paying attention to what is happening to us – pressure from our neighbors to yield to their prescriptive tactic.
My fellow Eritreans, we cannot afford to stop asking ourselves hard questions during this crucial moment in our history. As PFDJ continues to sit on shaky ground we cannot afford to sit still on the fence and watch things get out of control from afar, can we? At the same time we cannot sit back and allow Ethiopia aggravate our situation through its intrusive activities. Let me address the issue regarding the need to steer clear of Ethiopia’s pathway. My argument is speaking out against and rebuffing Ethiopian intrusion in our affairs is one of the many actions we can take while we have time – before the sound of our protest dies unheard. If Ethiopia wants to help us then it should stop meddling now. Their intrusion will make our struggle a purposeless campaign. To deny them the moral high ground they are trying to appropriate through various means, is tantamount to strengthening the inner conscience of our country. .
Call it vanity, I often catch myself asking a question I find quite challenging. What do I want to be remembered for after I die? Over the coming years, we may all face this important question. The question comes to me because of the tragic circumstance that has been created around us by those who are misled by Ethiopia. Aren’t we witnessing some Eritreans not stepping up to some needed issues and not taking on great odds in exercising our patriotic obligations? We may not want to ask ourselves such a question because we are too caught up in our lives. Whatever our circumstance may be we have the obligation to raise questions regarding our country’s future not only in terms of PFDJ’s brutality but Ethiopia’s unscrupulous intentions – facts our young citizens should be aware of.
In my previous article I mentioned that some are betraying themselves as they are betraying our people by colluding with Ethiopia-led campaign. I believe this point raised some interest among some readers. Some wrote with regards to:
- Ethiopian dominion: I believe the Ethiopian intrusion to muddy our struggle and undermine our confidence is a futile exercise. I will raise more points regarding this matter in the ensuing paragraphs.
- Tesfay Temnewo: Please forgive me for being cruel and crude here – I am not going to allow a ‘hadami’ (deserter) to lecture me on the history of our struggle for independence. I want others to inform me what our struggle was all about – the soul of Kidane Kiflu, the courage of Dawit wedi police, the confidence of Fissehaye wedi Finanza, the intellect of Abu Arre, the ever inspiring songs of the legendary wedi TiKul, the melodious poetry of adey Zemzem and more. Tesfay Temnewo is an opportunist who is distorting our history to his advantage and trying to improve his social status because he has been rejected in all aspects of his life.
- Our Youth: What do we call the generation of young men and women who came of age during or immediately following Eritrean independence? The Lost Generation! Being products of the Isaias Afwerki era, the post-independence generation is viewed by many as cynical and disillusioned. Sadly, they seem to have lost the tenets we once espoused; they ignore accepted standards of behavior and they have become contemptuous of values many of us grew up with. I am afraid they, of course of no fault of their own, are disillusioned because they have no ideals. How much our youth have missed out on in life is indescribable! Anyway, these very cynical and disillusioned youngsters, who are dispersed in neighboring countries and beyond and are leading harrowing lives, are the ones Ethiopia, with the collaboration of some of their Eritrean counterparts, are trying to recruit – to mislead them into becoming pawns entrusted to shove us into the Weyane (TPLF) corner. What do our youth want to be remembered for after they are misled into picking up arms against the Eritrean regime? Betrayal? Bloodshed?
The good thing is so far the conspirators who are taking direct instructions from Ethiopian officials have spectacularly failed. Not only have they been ignored by the silent majority but they have also been at each other’s throats. Now the cynical and disillusioned youngsters are squabbling among themselves. Furthermore, those who were entrusted to wage an assault on the rest of the campaigners from various fronts will hopefully learn from the failures of others – that the TPLF ideology will not penetrate into our psyche simply because ‘Hdri swu’at allona’ . Our martyrs’ legacy is still alive.
Clipped into Co-option
With this article I hope, with a bit of luck, to kick-start the process of recuperation from the unfair onslaught some responsible campaigners have been enduring the last few years of our struggle for justice and democracy. Again, I would like to underline that it is not my intention to provide the Asmara government a reprieve, or disregard the appalling crimes it is committing against our people; on the contrary, my objective is to process some thoughts of concern and perplexities that are tripping us, agitations that are exploiting our vulnerabilities, and sugar-coated lies that are poised to ensnare us. I believe once we have certain facts under our belts, and hopefully under our control, we will be in a better position to have a say in our destiny – a movement of our own, spearheaded by our own efforts and for our own people.
My fellow Eritreans, it is my moral obligation to say the interest Ethiopia is demonstrating in our affairs is not to remove Isaias from power only but to use the removal of Isaias to commandeer its strategy of gradual appropriation of Eritrea. In other words, we have to understand the Ethiopians are not doing us any neighborly favor. We have to be aware of the fact that they need Eritreans to make their plot look legitimate, expedite their strategy to bring their yes-men in power and eventually fulfill their dream of appropriating their demands. I am saying this not for the sake of convincing those who do not know the truth as I understand it, but for the sake of expressing my solidarity with those who do know it.
We are witnessing many deluded Eritreans sacrificing the truth to their vanity, comfort and advantage in their make-believe worlds. Take the case of Eritrean National Commission for Democratic Change (ENCDC), for instance. How Ethiopian is ENCDC? As far as I am concerned, forgive me for being too blunt, it is an organization set up by the Ethiopians, through Ethiopian resources, for the good of Ethiopians. The nonentities of the ENDC leaders seem to enjoy the attention they have received from Ethiopia for now. Nonetheless, ENDC is run by the ineffectual pro-Ethiopia individuals who continue to nurse their chronic impotency. To call a spade a spade, ENCDC is a sham. How soon can one forget the huge sacrifice Eritreans paid to drive the Ethiopians out of Eritrea is the source of our dignity? We won our independence through sheer determination, and that makes us special. We are not going to allow Eritrea to be a copy of Ethiopia. The question is how are we going to keep the Eritrean fervor alive as we are going through these challenging times? The simple answer is by reminding ourselves repeatedly the price we paid for our independence and by our commitment to action – to remain independent as we fight for our rights as one.
Let’s also remember the following. In the last few years we could not fight as one for obvious reasons. We have witnessed the coming and going of Eritrean opposition groups as they were assembled and disbanded by Ethiopia at will. Think of EDA came about and how it was rendered irrelevant when ENCDC was brought to the scene. Remember how the ENDC was ridiculed when the Debrezeit group was manufactured. Many were discarded in the process and humiliated as we sat back and watched the various acts conducted by Ethiopian officials. Those groups were made to point their finger of guilt at each other as they kowtowed to Ethiopian leaders. The kowtowing still continues. In other words, those discredited groups are clipped into co-option.
If it weren’t for Isaias Afwerki and the PFDJ government we would have achieved a respectable position in the region by now; and a considerable level of national development. PFDJ will pass on and our time will certainly come! For now let me say it is about time those of us who believe in Eritrea’s sovereignty got together to make a judicious and well-informed stand at this crucial time – reject Ethiopia’s manipulations, and at the same time oppose PFDJ’s rule resolutely. Our struggle will be easier once we carve our unity out of our past struggle against Ethiopia. We should not allow the very thing that brought us together (our struggle for independence) be used to pull us apart (by the likes of Tesfay Temnewo’s skewed arguments). We need to imagine Eritrea in oneness – a place which we are all part of, a place from which we rise up to defend, and a place to which we all return. My fellow Eritreans, let’s prepare ourselves for what is to come tomorrow. How?
Until next time …